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The rise and impact of composable commerce in the retail industry

The Contentstack TeamNov 17, 20238 min read

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"Exceptional customer experiences are the only sustainable platform for competitive differentiation" — Kerry Bodine, CEO, Bodine & Co.

Every retail company's CTO understands the importance of customer experience. Why?

A positive customer experience starts when you provide instant access to important information and offer shopping convenience, regardless of when, where, and how your customers purchase.

It boils down to providing flexibility in the ever-changing business and IT landscape to meet the changing demands of your customers. According to Gartner, retail companies require a modularized approach and adjustable and autonomous components of composable commerce to bring flexibility and ensure customization.

You need this composable system to inject flexibility and customization.

In this blog, we explore the ins and outs of composable commerce, its importance in modern retail, and how it helps businesses achieve their goals.

But first, let's understand what it means.

What is composable commerce?

Composable commerce is a modern approach to developing custom and flexible commerce experiences. It lets you pick the best-of-breed products and compose your components' stack to fulfill your business goals. This flexibility allows you to react accordingly to market variations, innovate better, and offer improved customer experiences.

Instead of depending on a one-size-fits-all e-commerce solution, a composable system uses modern-day technologies and methods such as MACH (microservices, API first approach, cloud-native, headless commerce) to stay flexible and adjust to the changing market demands.

But what's fueling the growth of composable commerce?

Today, digital customers demand customized engagements tailored to their tastes and preferences. Going composable helps you create customized commerce systems and deliver seamless and tailored customer journeys.

This approach takes you one step ahead of the competition as you successfully involve customers during every interaction.

The rise of composable commerce in retail

For a long time, retailers have faced numerous challenges with traditional commerce systems, including:

  • Slow adaptability and rigid response to new market demands.

  • Hindered agility and innovation.

  • There needs to be more adequate customization and personalization.

A composable system emphasizing flexibility and modularity helps you overcome these hurdles and create new chances for growth and success.

Using these systems, you follow the market's trends, personalize customer experience, and optimize operational efficiency. This metamorphosis has prepared grounds for an agile and customer-oriented future.

These systems utilize the capability of APIs and software integrations to formulate a dynamic and unified trade environment.

A composable approach provides agility, scalability, and innovation, leading to greater customer experience and business growth.

What are the critical features of composable commerce?

The key features of composable commerce are:

  • APIs: The composable system relies on APIs to connect different software components and create a customized commerce experience.

  • Packaged business capabilities (PBC): The tech stack includes various PBCs, such as content management systems, customer experience platforms, inventory management, and order processing.

  • Unified commerce ecosystem: This feature focuses on the integration of various components throughout the entire commerce journey, including inventory management, customer service, and beyond.

By seamlessly connecting these features, you deliver an unparalleled and cohesive customer experience that is both efficient and satisfying.

Integrating this approach in your retail business empowers you to streamline operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

How to build a composable commerce platform

If you're considering building a composable platform for your business, there are a few key steps to help you through the process:

  1. Define your business goals

    While transitioning to a composable system is complex, identify your business objectives.

    Ask questions such as: Why do you want to transition to composable commerce platforms? What do you expect the composable approach to achieve?

    Clearly outline the areas requiring improvements, such as business growth, customer experience, and operational efficiency.

    Tip: From the start, document your objectives and goals and ensure they're achievable. This forms the building blocks for your success.

  2. Go through your existing tech infrastructure

    Your existing tech infrastructure might be hindering the adoption of a composable system. Verify whether your current infrastructure is modular and compatible with external services.

    Knowledge of these gaps helps you decode the upgrades and migration required before you think about using a composable system.

    Tip: Ensure your tech stack supports API-driven microservices and architecture.

  3. Research and choose various components

    Perform in-depth research to find services and components aligning with your business goals and objectives. Start by considering features like CMS, payment gateways, inventory management systems, marketing automation tools, etc.

    Tip: Again, choose components with a robust API infrastructure because it helps you customize and extend functionalities.

  4. Rethink your integration strategies

    Avoid the "hasty" integration approach. Instead, go slow by prioritizing critical components. This approach serves two purposes,

    Minimizes disruption of the existing workflows and operations.

    It helps you test and optimize your process along the way.

    Tip: Going slow with your integration helps your business evolve and transition toward a composable future.

  5. Train and upskill your employees

    The paradigm shift toward composable systems can become overwhelming for your employees. So, prepare your team for this change. Provide training and resources to support them in working seamlessly with modular components and maintaining the system's security and stability.

  6. Partner with experts

    While you train your employees to adapt to this digital maturity, consider partnering with service providers or experts who can guide you through the transition to composable systems while providing valuable insights and support.

  7. Monitor and evolve

    Your work doesn't end after the migration. Why not?

    A composable system’s implementation is not a one-time affair but an ongoing effort. So, consistently monitor it.

    Tip: Keep an eye on emerging technologies to ensure your tech infrastructure remains agile and adaptable to future requirements.

The technical side of composable commerce

Composable commerce is built on the core principles of MACH architecture. These components work together to provide you and your customers with a seamless and flexible digital experience.

  • Microservices: Microservices act as the building blocks of composable commerce. A microservice architecture provides a decoupled and decentralized approach to meet individual retailer requirements.

  • API-first approach: These systems focus on the API-first approach, where different parts of the eCommerce system communicate using APIs. This approach enables integrated and best-of-breed solutions. Additionally, APIs allow you to create a tech stack based on your requirements without relying on the functionality of full apps or pre-built plugins.

  • Cloud-native architecture: Composable solutions are cloud-native, helping you independently scale to meet demand. Additionally, this easily integrates with other cloud-based services while providing a reliable experience to your customers.

  • Headless Architecture: Headless commerce refers to decoupling the front end from the back end functionality. These two sides remain connected via an API. At the core of digital commerce exists a headless architecture. It gives you a better grip on the customer experience, helping you make changes in the front end without altering the back end functionality.

Advantages of composable commerce

Composable commerce offers many advantages, such as flexibility, scalability, and superior customer experience. To demonstrate the benefits of composable commerce, let's explore some real-time case studies where this technology proved helpful:

Provides flexibility and agility

Composable commerce empowers you to choose components within your ecommerce systems to meet your business needs.

While selecting and configuring components based on your requirements is time-consuming, it improves your future business agility. You are no longer in the grip of monolithic solutions.

Case study: How has Contentstack helped Dawn Foods' website become 80% faster than other sites?

Dawn Foods faced the challenge of migrating from traditional orders to online services and was looking for an agile platform. For its MACH infrastructure, Dawn Foods chose Contentstack.

Contentstack's composable digital experience platform (DXP) supported faster content updates, provided better customer experiences and helped them respond to customer preferences, making their online order site agile and customer-centric.

Read the entire case study, "Cartier improves brand integrity and operations efficiency."

What do our customers say?

"Content updates in our site run 80% faster compared to publishing with a monolith CMS. In some cases, the content that could take up to a week to publish using a monolith CMS, we can publish in less than an hour with Contentstack." - Bob Howland, Chief Digital Officer, Dawn Foods

Ensures superior customer experiences:

Delivering exceptional customer experience is the heart and soul of today's competitive landscape. This technology helps you customize and personalize every touch point in the customer's journey, resulting in happier, engaged, and satisfied customers.

Case study: How did Contentstack ensure a consistent experience for BISSELL's customers?

BISSELL encountered challenges with its previous homegrown technology and open-source solution and turned to Contentstack for a more efficient alternative. The transition proved swift and seamless, with Contentstack's cloud-hosted system enabling BISSELL to focus on enhancing the app experience while leaving the backend management to the experts.

With Contentstack in place, BISSELL's new mobile app went live in November 2023. It offers customers a seamless experience with content-driven features like product information, user guides, and tutorials. The streamlined content translation process has empowered BISSELL to release new features and validate translations quickly, ensuring optimal efficiency and quality control.

What do our customers say?

“With Contenstack, we’re moving towards consolidation of content across all digital touchpoints, so that we can truly meet customers where they are.” Aaron Pittenger, Sr. Manager - IOT, BISSELL

Read the case study, “BISSELL reimagines a connected mobile experience.”

Enhances scalability

The modular design and cloud-native approach of composable systems allow you to scale your operations up or down without disrupting existing processes. This scalability ensures business continuity and growth.

Case study: How has Contentstack scaled MTR's operations?

MTR Corporation wanted to increase its MTR mobile app experience by consolidating separate reward programs into one. Contentstack used the composable DXP’s ability to integrate with various channels to ensure MTR delivered omnichannel content.

Contentstack's scalability allowed the MTR mobile app to shift from an ordinary app into a lifestyle platform that handles surges in user traffic while delivering content through various media channels.

Read the entire case study, "MTR delivers rail riders an enhanced omnichannel experience."

Increases innovation

API-driven architecture helps you try different technologies, test your ideas, and innovate. It creates a culture of improvement and enables you to remain on the cutting edge of retail innovations.

Case study: How did Contentstack help Cartier innovate?

Cartier faced the challenge of managing multiple websites with inconsistent technology, time-intensive content updates, and a lack of brand alignment; they chose Contentstack's Composable DXP for its flexibility and ease of content management.

Contentstack streamlined the website development and content reuse and created an innovative template-based "website factory" for creating localized sites. This innovation resulted in quicker site developments, seamless customer experience, and unified brand integrity across all the touchpoints.

Read the entire case study, "Cartier improves brand integrity and operations efficiency."

Predictions for composable commerce and retail innovation

Because of the development and implementation of composable commerce solutions in the retail industry, you will likely witness exciting improvements in the next few years. With 70% of large and mid-sized businesses likely to include composability in their approval process for new applications by 2024, the foreseeable future of composable commerce shines bright. Some predictions include:

Growth of microservices

Modular design will remain a key focus area in the future, and you can expect to see more microservices in composable systems. Building a composable infrastructure requires smaller, specialized services because they offer greater flexibility and scalability.

Integration of AI and personalization

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) to handle and analyze data collected through various touch points will provide personalized experiences for customers. This will lead to a smoother and more personalized shopping experience.

Rise of headless commerce

As headless commerce ensures greater customization and flexibility, you can expect more headless commerce-based solutions that offer distinctive and engaging customer experiences.

With 92% of businesses agreeing that headless commerce makes it easier to deliver a consistent experience, this demonstrates its capability and growing impact on the business landscape.

FAQ section

  1. How does composable commerce improve the time to market for new products?

    Composable commerce allows you to easily add or replace components in your tech stack, leading to faster innovation and quicker response to market changes.

  2. What specific business challenges does this composable system address?

    Composable systems address several business challenges, including the need for customization, flexibility, and speed in delivering unique customer experiences.

  3. Can you integrate composable systems with existing commerce systems?

    Yes, you can integrate composable systems with existing systems using APIs and software integrations.

  4. How does composable commerce support the customization of the customer experience?

    Composable commerce enables businesses to tailor their systems to meet specific needs and deliver unique customer journeys.

  5. What are packaged business capabilities (PBCs), and how do they relate to composable commerce?

    PCBs are software components easily added or replaced in a tech stack. They are crucial to creating a flexible and customizable composable commerce platform.

The future of retail is composable

Composable commerce is the future - or at least a revolutionary change empowering the future of retail and eCommerce.

Its ability to enable retailers to make changes in the future drives its rapid adoption.

Regardless of trends that come and go - including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, or any other disruptive innovation - composable commerce supports your business requirements.

So, are you ready to jump on the retail revolution bandwagon and prepare your business to use the composable commerce approach?

Schedule a demo today to see how our product can help you achieve your business goals.

About Contentstack

The Contentstack team comprises highly skilled professionals specializing in product marketing, customer acquisition and retention, and digital marketing strategy. With extensive experience holding senior positions in notable technology companies across various sectors, they bring diverse backgrounds and deep industry knowledge to deliver impactful solutions.  

Contentstack stands out in the composable DXP and Headless CMS markets with an impressive track record of 87 G2 user awards, 6 analyst recognitions, and 3 industry accolades, showcasing its robust market presence and user satisfaction.

Check out our case studies to see why industry-leading companies trust Contentstack.

Experience the power of Contentstack's award-winning platform by scheduling a demo, starting a free trial, or joining a small group demo today.

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